Volunteer - Be Healthy - Get Outdoors - Meet People - Learn - Share - Engage - Have Fun!
There are loads of ways you can get involved or help out at the Hillyfield. We are on the land pretty much every day working the woods, and every month we open the gates for our volunteer day - a wonderful way to experience the land hands-on through the seasons. See Below for Dates.
We also host regular volunteer activities throughout the week, as well as short to medium term volunteer placements.
Occasionally we will host events, workshops, and woodland open days - so watch this space!
“The Forestry Commission fully supports the Woodland Management at The Hillyfield‘
(Mark Prior, Director of Forestry Commission)
‘The work being carried out on Hillyfield is hugely beneficial for wildlife and the local ecology of the area... connecting local communities with nature, providing sustainable ethical wood sources for local people and enhancing the biodiversity of remnant ancient woodland...‘
(Adam Mahar, former forester at National Trust, Wildlife Trust & The Hillyfield)
‘The Hillyfield team should be proud of what they have achieved‘
(Nick Allison, Saltram and Antony National Trust garden manager)
There is a great diversity of woodland at the Hillyfield, as well as organic pasture, lakes and river.
All our work is carried out with the support of volunteers. We run a volunteer day every month (the 2nd Saturday of each month), and also offer volunteer placements and apprenticeships through WWOOF, HelpX, Workaway, and for students at Bicton College.
We have worked with Moor Trees, Plymouth University, Schumacher College, and South Brent After School Club.
We have planted 5 acres of new mixed broadleaf, restored what was a Plantation on Ancient Woodland Site with mixed broadleaf and coppice, and Since 2011 we have worked hard to remove infected Japanese Larch and encourage a diverse mix of trees which can be both resilient to climate change, improve biodiversity, and remain productive.
There is also a good stretch of wet woodland with a mix of alder and willow.
We also care for 17acres of organic pasture on which a neighbouring farmer grazes Black Faced Scotty sheep and a few cattle. There are 2lakes, and a stretch of the beautiful River Harbourne.
We have planted a tree nursury, Apple orchard, Herb spiral, productive willow beds, and fruiting bushes. We also breed poultry and look after bees.
For various articles on our work CLICK HERE to visit the Press page
Volunteering is a great way to get to know the land and be involved in the hands-on work at the Hillyfield.
It is hard work, and rewarding.
The seasons bring different jobs to the fore, so by taking part in the monthly volunteer Saturday, you will have the opportunity to enjoy a taste of the year as the months roll by.
There is also the possibility to be more involved at The Hillyfield, either during the week, of as a 'seasonal forest worker' who comes to help with whatever tasks are at hand. Just ask Doug.
The Hillyfield has hosted volunteers from the 4 corners of the earth through the organisations HelpX, Workaway, and Wwoof.
In just 5 years we have invested nearly 26,000 hours of volunteer input - a huge investment of social capital!
So please think about coming to lend a hand and enjoy a day of working the land.
Due to our expanded family and how hard it is to navigate weekends we put volunteer days on hold for a couple of years and have now managed to start them again. If you are keen to find out more about opportunities during the week then please get in touch.
Likewise, if you want to find more opportunities for short to medium term volunteering for locals or as a residential woodland worker for 1month or more please get in touch or visit HelpX, Workaway, or Wwoof.
ACTIVITIES & EVENTS
EVENTS & WORKSHOPS
We love to share the Hillyfield with others and celebrate a growing Culture of Wood on Dartmoor.
We usually host two Open Days each year and a number of workshops.
Join us for a mini Hillyfield Easter Egg Hunt on Bank holiday monday 1st April. If you can volunteer to help run the event let us know asap.
If you want to hire the Hillyfield for any function then get in touch.
Other events and activities we have hosted at The Hillyfield have included:
Film Location for Jo Roberts' 'Bellmouth'
Wild food and medicine with Brigit-Anna McNeil
Butchery & Field dressing with Wild Game
The Great Celebration: folk music and stories including Martha Tilston & Martin Shaw
The Woodland Olympics (next up in 2025?)
THE WOODLAND OLYMPICS
A fabulous day to enjoy All things Wood.
Great Games, Crafts, Artists, Activities & Woodland fun.
Horse-logging, axe-throwing, archery, bushcraft, log-splitting, and so much more. Click Here
FOREST SCHOOL & BUSHCRAFT- nature based fun for kids (and big kids). We hosted 'Dara Home-ed support group over the pandemic and host regular bushcraft days for home-ed kids.
Forest Farm Tours for kids -supported by Countryside Stewardship we have hosted tours through 2024 and plan to continue.
HORSE-LOGGING with Will Hampton of Dartmoor Horse Loggers. 1/2 day experience
HEDGE LAYING with Nige Cole - each year we aim to lay a new section of hedge in a different style
Willow Workshops - for basketry and sculpture with Linda Lemieux
Timber Framing Workshops - with Henry Russel
Clay rendering & Straw Bale workshops with Simon Dale